The Book of Trees
Global warming and world hunger are undoubtedly two of the biggest issues facing humanity. The Book of Trees takes an in-depth look at how trees can solve both problems – mitigating climate change and simultaneously boosting food production.
Maneka Gandhi and Risto Isomäki explain how food producing plants could be replaced by trees and how ‘agroforestry’, an untapped science, may be the solution the world needs. ‘Trees as food producers’ the first of four sections, emphasises that trees can survive in many kinds of soil and temperatures and produce more net edible food as compared to the normally cultivated crop plants. Mycoforestry, the science of growing mushrooms, could be a revolution in the food industry. ‘Cooling the globe with trees’ talks about how forests could help us soak up excess carbon content from the atmosphere.
If we continue in the direction we are moving in at the moment, the result will be a runaway greenhouse effect – with global warming feeding itself as forests die as a result of climate change, releasing further carbon dioxide. Working to vastly increase tree cover would serve to sequester carbon. Utilised sustainably, trees are also a good source of raw material for construction purposes, as opposed to extractive materials that require mining processes. ‘Growing food-bearing trees’ suggests how traditional agriculture and modern tree growing systems can be synergised to create a ‘high- yield-maximum diversity’ tree breeding system.
The Book of Trees, is filled with folk tales and detailed information about different kinds of trees, the fruit yield per hectare, carbon sequestration capacity etc. in different situations. The book is well supported with facts and case studies and does leave one with the impression that the solutions to many of our problems lie around us, if we would only look hard enough.
Maneka Gandhi and Risto Isomäki, Published by: Other India Press, Paperback. Price Rs. 190/-